The following is a timeline of the Syrian civil war from January to April 2011, beginning with the start of protests on 26 January 2011 and including the protests' escalation into a civil uprising on 15 March 2011.
28 January, in the large northern city of Al-Hasakah, a man, Hasan Ali Akleh, soaked himself with gasoline and set himself afire.
3 February, Syrian opposition groups called on Facebook and Twitter for a "day of rage" on Friday 4 February. This did not lead to protests in Syria on 4 Feb.
17 February, a demonstration was held in protest of a police beating of a shop keeper. Protesters chanted: “the Syrian people will not be humiliated”.
23 February, Syria's justice minister defended the state of emergency by pointing at the state of war with Israel. A proposal of one parliament member to evaluate the harsh emergency laws was voted down with 249 against one MP.
6 March, in the southern city of Daraa, young boys were arrested for writing the slogan “the people want to overthrow the regime” or “the people want the downfall of the regime” on walls across the city. Either fourteen or fifteen schoolchildren were arrested, reportedly tortured, or handcuffed and carried out of their classroom.
7 March, thirteen political prisoners in Syria went on hunger strike, demanding an end to political arrests and the restitution of rights that have been removed from civil and political life.
10 March, dozens of Syrian Kurds started hunger strike in solidarity with those of 7 March.
16 March, dozens or around 100 or 150 or 200 people, mostly relatives of political prisoners, demonstrated in Marjeh Square in Damascus, near the Interior Ministry, calling for release of their loved ones. Police threatened them with batons and arrested four or six people, witnesses and AFP correspondents said; according to the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), dozens of these protesters were arrested.
Friday 18 March, locals in Daraa gathered peacefully and marched through the city, demanding the release of the since 6 March detained children and calling for democracy, greater freedom, political freedom, and an end to corruption. A resident told news agency Reuters: “thousands” of demonstrators chanted: “God, Syria, Freedom”. Security forces opened fire, killing four demonstrators. Also manifestations at Damascus and Banias that day were repressed violently.
19 March, at funerals in Daraa of victims of the day before, 10,000 people according to a Civil Rights movement demonstrated. One of their chants was: “The blood of our martyrs won’t be forgotten”. Security forces used tear gas, and shot live ammunition at the mourners, killing one, or even six, persons. Witnesses said the gas seemed more toxic than ordinary tear gas. Protests were also in three other cities. A Human Rights group said, all women jailed 16 March in Damascus had begun a hunger strike in their women prison; another group said, it were ten women on hunger strike.
20 March, thousands of protesters in Daraa set fire to the local Ba'ath Party headquarters and to the Palace of Justice and to a cellphone company branch of company Syriatel owned by a cousin of President Assad. In response, security forces opened fire on demonstrators and killed fifteen. Seven police officers also were killed in the violence.
21 March, in Daraa, thousands brought the one, killed on Saturday 19, to his grave. They shouted: “God, Syria, Freedom; the people demand the overcoming of corruption” and: “We are no longer afraid”. To calm that situation, president Assad ordered the release of the since 6 March detained children and removed provincial governor Faisal Kulthum from his office. Troops were sent to Daraa. Also hundreds demonstrated in the agricultural town Jasim near Daraa.
22 March, in Daraa, hundreds of people had gathered around the Omari mosque, the focus of the protests since 18 March, to prevent regime troops from storming it. Security forces opened fire, killing four protesters, human rights activists said. An AFP photographer said he was beaten by security forces in Daraa who seized his equipment.
Loay Hussein, a political prisoner from 1984 to 1991 and now a prominent rights leader, who had been supporting protesters in Daraa, was arrested at his home in the Sehnaya district near Damascus by Syrian authorities. Protesters also gathered today in the southern towns of Inkhil,Nawa,Al-Sanamayn and Jasim and rural areas around Damascus.
23 March, in Daraa security forces using tear gas and firearms stormed on thousand demonstrators near the Omari mosque (see also 22 March), resulting in at least 37 people being killed in Daraa according to a hospital communication.
24 March, witnesses reported 20,000 Syrians in Daraa at the funerals of nine protesters killed 23 March, chanting: “The blood of martyrs is not spilt in waste!”
Friday 25 March, early on the day, 100,000 people in Daraa attended an anti-government demonstration, according to a political activist. Later, as thousands gathered and marched to the main square in the city after the funeral of five protesters killed this week, they chanted (against the President’s brother): “Maher you coward. Send your troops to liberate the Golan”, said a Reuters witness. These thousands moved to the governor’s building where they burned a picture of Bashar al-Assad and toppled a statue of Hafez al-Assad (the former president), a witness said. Then, he said, armed men on the roof of the officer’s club started firing at the crowd; the website of Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports that “apparently” 20 people were killed. Website Aljazeera asserts that protesters also burned the home of the governor in Daraa.
There were also protests in Latakia, Homs, Damascus, Hama, Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa. Activists reported one or two demonstrators in Latakia (Syria’s fourth city with some 650,000 inhabitants) shot dead by security forces or killed by a face off between protesters and pro-government supporters, and one shot dead in Homs.
The Syrian state news agency reported an armed gang in the southern town of Al-Sanamayn attacking security forces which resulted in the death of several attackers. A YouTube video showed seven bloody bodies in Al-Sanamayn lying on stretchers, three clearly with gunshot wounds; the claims that 10 to 20 were killed there by security forces were not independently confirmed.
Hundreds of protesters in Damascus expressed their solidarity with the demonstrators killed in Daraa on 23 March, crying out: “We sacrifice our blood, our souls for you in Daraa”. But in Damascus there were also rallies of thousands chanting their loyalty in support of President Assad.
26 March, in an apparent attempt to appease the increasingly angry demonstrators, authorities freed about 260 political prisoners and 42 Kurdish detainees, and also announced reforms. An Al Jazeera reporter commented: "they have released political prisoners before, but more than 200 in a day is unprecedented".
In both Latakia 26 March and Tafas (south of Damascus) 26 or 27 March, residents attending funerals (of demonstrators shot dead Friday) set fire to the local Baath Party building and a police station. This resulted in Latakia in three people reportedly killed after a clash with security forces. Government forces were deployed in Latakia.
In Daraa, hundreds staged a silent sit-in near a mosque, security forces fired tear gas on them, witnesses reported.
27 March, early on the day the Syrian state news agency said that armed gangs had attacked neighbourhoods in Latakia, firing from rooftops. Anti-government protesters however accused government forces of opening fire on them. Activists said some demonstrators set fire to a Ba’ath Party building and attacked businesses. The state news agency said later that in the violence 10 or 12 people had died, including residents, “armed elements” and security personnel.
29 March, after a government appeal on 28 March, today tens of thousands Syrians demonstrated in support of President Assad, in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Al-Hasakah. AP news agency reported that bank employees and other workers were allowed two hours and school children were given the day off to attend these demonstrations. Website Ynetnews, part of the Israeli Yedioth Media Group, mentioned however “hundreds of thousands of Assad supporters” in the streets; and the Syria-based website of Day Press (Dp-news) mentioned “millions of Syrian citizens” rallying “expressing loyalty to the motherland”.
30 March, President Bashar al-Assad gave his first speech since the protests erupted this month, but did not lift the emergency rule. His speech was interrupted by sycophants declaring their undying love for the leader.
31 March (or 30 March but not during his television speech), President Assad promised an investigation into the possibility of replacing the emergency law that is in place since 1963 and into the issue of 150,000 Kurds in the region of Hassake who have been disenfranchised since the 1962 census.
Friday 1 April, after Friday prayers, thousands of protesters in several cities demonstrated themselves to be unsatisfied with, and unimpressed by, the vague promises of reform President Assad had made the previous day (see above).
In Douma, a working-class northern suburb of Damascus, citizens gathered on the Municipality Square, hundreds according to Syrian officials, 2,000 according to witnesses who say they were chanting: “Freedom, freedom” when police opened fire on them. At least eight people were killed. Officials however said, an armed group had taken to the rooftops and fired on both citizens and security forces.
In Daraa, now largely sealed off by the military, according to an eyewitness 5,000 people demonstrated, shouting: “We want freedom!” Hundreds tried to march from Daraa to the nearby city of Al-Sanamayn when police fired on them, killing five marchers, reports say.
In Homs, according to the state news agency, an armed group fired on citizens, killing one girl.
In Damascus, at the main Umayyad Mosque, government supporters let worshippers out the gates only in small groups, so no crowd could gather, witnesses said. The state-run News Agency denied that any clashes between protesters and security forces had occurred today in Syria.
2 April, in Daraa and Homs 21 people were arrested according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, presumably because of their protesting the previous day.
Friday 8 April, after Friday prayers, in Daraa security forces opened fire to disperse stone-throwing protesters, a witness told Al Jazeera. 27 demonstrators were killed, hospital sources and witnesses said. The state-run news agency SANA said however, that “armed groups using live ammunition” during the protests killed 19 members of the security forces. Protesters in Daraa chanted: “The people want the overthrow of the regime”.
10 people were killed in Douma, a Damascus suburb. Unconfirmed reports were that in Harasta, another suburb of Damascus, three people were killed, and in Homs two protesters.
Mazen Darwish, an activist in Damascus, said about Assad’s 31 March’ pledges of investigations: “It is not about this problem or that problem; it’s about transforming Syria from dictatorship to democracy; (…) to open up political life, have free press and political parties and lift the emergency rule”.
In eastern Syria, thousands of ethnic Kurds demonstrated. In the northeastern city of Qamishli, Kurdish youth apparently rejected Assad’s attempt of overture to Kurds by releasing 48 Kurdish prisoners, when they chanted: “No Kurd, no Arab, Syrian people are one. We salute the martyrs of Daraa”.
13 April, hundreds of women took part in a march demanding the release of 350 men arrested in Bayda.
14 April, release of hundreds of prisoners 
15 April, tens of thousands of people held protests in Baniyas, Latakia, Baida, Homs, and Deir ez-Zor.Al Jazeera reported that up to 50,000 protesters trying to enter Damascus from the Douma suburb were dispersed by security forces using tear gas, while in the Barzeh district of the capital violence erupted when dozens of armed men in plain clothes surrounded about 250 protesters rallying in front of a mosque.
16 April, thousands of people marched in Deraa .
The President spoke to the People's Assembly stating that he expects his government to lift the emergency law in a week.
18 April, more than 10,000 demonstrators staged an anti-government sit-in in Homs 
19 April, the government approved a bill lifting the country's emergency laws. This was the first time in 48 years that the state of emergency had been lifted.
21 April, President Assad signed the decrees for ending the state of emergency, abolishing the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), and regulating the right to peaceful demonstrations. Undeterred protesters called for Friday to be their biggest day of outrage yet, in what they dub as "the Great Friday" (Arabic: الجمعة العظيمة).
22 April, the country experienced its biggest and bloodiest day in the current series of uprising as tens of thousands took to the streets. Protests occurred in the capital, Damascus, and in at least ten other cities in the country. Hundreds of protesters in central Damascus were dispersed, but thousands congregated in towns ringing the capital. According to the protesters' own reports, at least 70 people were killed nationwide when security forces opened fire on the demonstrators. Immediate verification was difficult because Syria had expelled almost all members of the international media from the country, although it eventually emerged that over 100 had been killed.